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Angst In America

Discussion in 'Topical Discussions (In Depth)' started by searcher, Mar 21, 2017.



  1. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Angst in America, Part 1: Aimless Men

    -- Published: Tuesday, 21 March 2017

    By John Mauldin

    Labor Market Limits
    Men Without Work
    How It Starts
    The Big Question: Why?
    Elusive Solutions
    Dallas, Washington DC, Atlanta, Augusta, and Tampa

    “America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.”

    – Harry S. Truman

    “Unemployment is a weapon of mass destruction.”

    – Dennis Kucinich

    “Ever since 2000, basic indicators have offered oddly inconsistent readings on America’s economic performance and prospects. It is curious and highly uncharacteristic to find such measures so very far out of alignment with one another. We are witnessing an ominous and growing divergence between three trends that should ordinarily move in tandem: wealth, output, and employment. Depending upon which of these three indicators you choose, America looks to be heading up, down, or more or less nowhere.”

    –Nicholas Eberstadt, “Our Miserable 21st Century

    [​IMG]
    “Depression Breadline,” 1991, by George Segal

    Angst is “a feeling of anxiety, apprehension, or insecurity.” Many of us feel it acutely right now – and that’s new. Angst isn’t a temporary, individual thing anymore. Now we all feel it together – or at least most of us do – and it’s not at all temporary. Millions can remember feeling no other way.

    There’s a general sense in much of the developed world that we’re headed for more difficult times. Deficits increase, unemployment rises, and the benefits of the future – or at least the future that is already here (to paraphrase William Gibson) – have been unevenly distributed throughout society. It is not just in voting patterns that you can recognize the sense of malaise. You can see it in the economic numbers and in a lot of the psychological/sociological research.

    Angst manifests differently in different countries. Consider Japan:

    Recent research by the Japanese government showed that about 30% of single women and 15% of single men aged between 20 and 29 admitted to having fallen in love with a meme or character in a game – higher than the 24% of those women and 11% of men who admitted to falling in love with a pop star or actor.

    The development of the multimillion-pound virtual romance industry in Japan reflects the existence of a growing number of people who don’t have a real-life partner, said Yamada. There is even a slang term, “moe”, for those who fall in love with fictional computer characters, while dating sims allow users to adjust the mood and character of online partners and are aimed at women as much as men. A whole subculture, including hotel rooms where a guest can take their console partner for a romantic break, has been springing up in Japan over the past six or seven years. (The Guardian)

    Is it any wonder that there is a dearth of babies in Japan? It’s hard to get pregnant when a computer avatar is your companion. Young British women are literally 20 times more likely to have a pregnancy out of wedlock than young Japanese women. The cultural oddity of moe partially explains that fact.

    While researching this topic I came across literally scores of similarly disconcerting statistics. For instance, the difference between the income and employment status of young males who grew up in two-parent versus one-parent homes is staggering, especially when you realize how fast the number of single-parent homes – generally, though not always, led by the mother – is rising. Less than half of US children live in a traditional family setting, according to Pew Research.

    [​IMG]

    This week we begin a series of letters exploring the new economic and sociological anxiety. I want to look at what causes it and think about what we can do to ease it. I don’t know how many letters this dive will take. I may break away for other topics and then come back to the topic of angst. The one thing I know, based on my own experiences with family, friends, and business associates and the feedback I get from readers, is that we have a big problem.

    In his first inaugural address, Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” In 1933 that wasn’t even close to true. They had plenty to fear: The US was already in the throes of a depression that would only get worse, and war clouds were forming across the Atlantic and Pacific.

    Roosevelt didn’t have all the right answers, but he did one thing very well: He gave people hope. My generation heard from our parents, even decades later, how FDR helped pulled them through those hard times.

    Of course, he had an important advantage today’s leaders lack: Television, talk radio, and the internet weren’t constantly reminding everyone how terrible things were. We didn’t know or care about the intimate details of our leader’s lives. Today, I am not sure even FDR himself could do what he did back then. Conditions are different now.

    It is become increasingly clear to everyone that we are breaking ourselves up into tribes based on how we consume news. We consume our news from people who are generally ensconced in the same ideological bubble we are, which only reinforces our concerns and anxieties. If you think Donald Trump and Paul Ryan are taking us in the wrong direction, there are plenty of people who will agree with you and tell you so. If you think the people opposing them don’t understand and are distorting the truth, there are plenty of sources that will confirm your thinking. And both sides talk/shout over the other.

    We have always had polarization among our news sources (even back in colonial times), but it has never been so ubiquitous before, or so extreme; and the news has never been so readily accessible, so that numerous “tribes” can live in the same physical neighborhood yet hear different versions and interpretations of the problems and directions in our country and the world. We no longer all listen to Walter Cronkite on the radio or TV or read the local newspaper for our news. There is no unifying national experience, just a disjointed series of intra- and intertribal interactions. (This is not just a US problem, but I’m going to be citing mostly US data.)

    [​IMG]

    Our Miserable 21st Century.”

    I will quote from that essay several times in this letter. If you take the time to read it, you should also read the pushback from my friend John Tamny, published in Forbes a few days ago, titled “Nicholas Eberstadt, Election 2016, and Self-Flagellation by the Elites.”

    2015 paper by Anne Case and Nobel economics laureate Angus Deaton talked about a mortality trend that had gone almost unnoticed until then: rising death rates for middle-aged US whites. By Case and Deaton’s reckoning, death rates rose somewhat slightly over the 1999–2013 period for all non-Hispanic white men and women 45–54 years of age – but they rose sharply for those with high-school degrees or less, and for this less-educated grouping most of the rise in death rates was accounted for by suicides, chronic liver cirrhosis, and poisonings (including drug overdoses)….

    All this sounds a little too close for comfort to the story of modern Russia, with its devastating vodka- and drug-binging health setbacks. Yes: It can happen here, and it has. Welcome to our new America….

    By 2013, according to a 2015 report by the Drug Enforcement Administration, more Americans died from drug overdoses (largely but not wholly opioid abuse) than from either traffic fatalities or guns….

    In Dreamland, his harrowing and magisterial account of modern America’s opioid explosion, the journalist Sam Quinones notes in passing that “in one three-month period” just a few years ago, according to the Ohio Department of Health, “fully 11 percent of all Ohioans were prescribed opiates….”

    [N]early half of all prime working-age male labor-force dropouts – an army now totaling roughly 7 million men – currently take pain medication on a daily basis.

    Geopolitical Futures Conference. I am really looking forward to this gathering, and I think there are a few spots left. Geopolitics specifically and politics in general have become more important than ever to our future in investing. I don’t particularly like that reality, but I have to live and invest in it.

    I will go from DC to an evening in Atlanta before making my way to Augusta, Georgia, where Shane and I will be the guests of good friends at the Masters. I haven’t had much time for golf in the past few years, but I have always wanted to watch the Masters live on Saturday and Sunday with people who can make sure that I get to see the action, and on the most beautiful and storied golf course in the world.

    I fly the next day for Tampa, where I will be in meetings with my friend Patrick Cox as some of his cutting-edge biotech friends come in to give us insights on their latest research. I don’t know how Patrick finds some of these researchers and gets in contact with them. Many of them are quite famous, but for whatever reason he seems to be able to get on the inside and tease information from them and share it. Some of the things they are discovering about the potential for postponing the ravages of aging are truly astounding, and I feel that I simply have to take a day out to absorb some of the latest and greatest developments. We do live in interesting times.

    It is with more than a little nostalgia that I note the passing of Chuck Berry at age 90. Yes, I drove around in my car with no particular place to go, listening to his music. He was the true father of rock ’n’ roll and inspired later generations of musicians from the ’60s and ’70s – some of the most famous bands of that era covered his music, including the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys, and so many others.

    Many of us know his music, but not that many know his story. He spent some time in reform school, where he actually formed a quartet that was allowed to perform outside of the prison. He made two more trips to prison in his life. I add that note in the context of our discussion about the 20,000,000 felons we have here in the US. Think about how much poorer the world would be if Chuck Berry had not been able to make it just because he had a felony record.

    Go to Google and type in “YouTube Chuck Berry.” Start with “Maybelline” and “Johnny B. Goode,” and then keep going. Chuck had dozens of hits, and the amazing thing is, he wrote his own material. What I did not expect to find was a jam-session concert, evidently at the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame, with Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Then I noticed that the backup band was a young Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band – and oh my God, there was Stevie Ray Vaughn!

    As I hit the send button today, I fantasize about that moment in the future when an alien culture intercepts the Voyager satellite that we sent into space during Jimmy Carter’s presidency. They listen to all the sounds and read our science and literature and then come to the music, where they appreciate the majesty of Bach and Beethoven; but it is the one rock ’n’ roll song, Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode,” that makes them decide to come visit our planet. Yes, I still think it’s rock ’n’ roll music forever. RIP, Chuck Berry.

    And with that, you have a great week. And if you’re of a certain era, let yourself get a little nostalgic kicking around on YouTube listing to Chuck Berry and all the other rock ’n’ roll greats. Sometimes you have to feed the soul.

    Your thinking he should listen to more music analyst,

    [​IMG]
    John Mauldin
    subscribers@MauldinEconomics.com

    http://news.goldseek.com/GoldSeek/1490105100.php
     
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  2. gringott

    gringott Killed then Resurrected Midas Member Site Supporter

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    Chuck Berry was A father of rock n roll, which had many parents.
    The Beatles covered more Carl Perkins songs than Chuck Berry songs.
     
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  3. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Angst in America, Part 3: Retiring Broke

    -- Published: Monday, 3 April 2017

    By John Mauldin

    Social Insecurity
    Why We Can’t Save
    Hitting the Wall
    Action Over Angst
    A Few Final Thoughts
    Washington DC, Atlanta, Augusta (at the Masters), Tampa Bay, and somewhere in Sonoma

    “The trouble with retirement is you never get a day off.”

    – Abe Lemons

    “Retirement at sixty-five is ridiculous. When I was sixty-five I still had pimples.”

    – George Burns

    “To be, or not to be, that is the question:
    Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
    The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
    Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
    And by opposing end them.”

    – Shakespeare, Hamlet

    [​IMG]

    Today we continue looking at angst in America, the financial worries that so afflict us here in the world’s largest economy and by extension in much of the developed world. We may be the envy of the world in some ways, but we also have no shortage of stress. Today we’ll look at some data on retirement savings – or lack thereof.

    Let’s start by backing up a little bit. I’m not the only one talking about financial anxiety. Last week I ran across a survey from NerdWallet on this very issue. They engaged the Harris Poll to ask 2,000 Americans of all ages about their biggest financial concerns. Here’s a chart showing the top worries.

    [​IMG]

    The biggest worries are healthcare expenses, lack of emergency savings, and lack of retirement savings. Yet only 28% worry they lack retirement savings? Compare this with what we know about people’s actual savings, and that number is far too low.

    We can see in another recent survey by GOBankingRates.com that more people should be worried about their retirement.

    [​IMG]

    Here we see that 33% of Americans have no retirement savings at all; another 23% have less than $10,000; and a further 10% have less than $50,000. So that’s 66%, a full two-thirds of Americans, with either no savings at all or not enough to generate significant income. (If you have $50,000 and can pull out 4% a year without drawing down principal – which is hard to do – you’ll get something like $160 a month.)

    The NerdWallet survey also shows that 13% have accumulated $300,000 or more in retirement savings. I am skeptical of that number, too, unless it includes the cash value of defined-benefit plans held by government employees. And for them that value is mostly an illusion; for many of them, their plans can’t possibly deliver anything near what the workers were promised. But that’s another subject.

    How much do we Americans really have saved? A Motley Fool article last year, citing data from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, looked at actual Individual Retirement Account balances. As of year-end 2013, 20.6 million individuals held a total $2.46 trillion in IRA accounts. Some of those unique individuals are each other’s spouses, so the number of family units would be lower.

    Do the math and we find that the average IRA holder’s balance was around $120,000 as of three years ago. But remember, the average IRA holder is not the average American. If only 20.6 million of us have IRAs, then over 300 million of us don’t have them. Some no doubt have other retirement vehicles, like 401(k)s. But this still suggests that a large plurality of Americans, and maybe a majority, have little or nothing saved for retirement. This shortfall is a problem, and not just for them.

    Fact Sheet.” As is the case with most bureaucracies, the SSA’s goal is partly to demonstrate how indispensable they are, but in the process they tell us a few things that should make us uncomfortable.

    In 2017, the average monthly retiree benefit is $1,360. Multiply that by 12 months and divide by 52 40-hour weeks, and living off Social Security is equivalent to being a full-time worker who earns $7.85 an hour (and remember, this is the average; many people receive less). Social Security benefits are worth a little more than the same amount in wages, net of taxes, but they still aren’t much. Guesstimating the tax differential suggests an equivalent hourly wage of about $8.50 an hour.

    Social Security’s fact sheet also says benefits represent about 34% of the elderly population’s income – but that number is heavily skewed in favor of the wealthy. Among retirees, 21% of married couples and 43% of unmarried persons rely on Social Security for 90% or more of their income.

    Currently, 41.2 million retired workers and 3 million dependents receive Social Security benefits. So that means 15 million or more retirees must be living on an income that’s meager by any definition.

    But at least they don’t have to worry about medical bills, you say; Medicare covers them all. Well, yes, it does cover them, but that’s not the same as covering their expenses. Copays and deductibles add up quickly unless you have supplemental insurance, which itself is expensive. Medicare recipients are responsible for 20% of hospital bills, and for these people even a short stay can wipe out months of income.

    Forty-one percent of Americans have no savings at all. An article in Forbes cites data that shows that just 37% of Americans have savings to cover an emergency that costs over $500. And understand, that is not just medical emergencies. What happens when your car breaks down? You have to get it fixed because you have to get to work. Having extensive experience with my seven children (and now seven grandchildren!), I can tell you that emergency expenditures seem to be the norm, not the exception (at least in the Mauldin household). Now the kids are adults and trying to make it on their own, but there are still times when The Bank of Dad has to help out in emergencies.

    The Social Security fact sheet has some other chilling numbers. It says 51% of the private workforce has no private pension coverage. Those are presumably people who work in small businesses or are self-employed or “gig” workers. Confirming NerdWallet’s figure, Social Security says 31% of workers report they and/or their spouses have no savings set aside specifically for retirement. Depending on the survey, another 10% have less than $10,000. It wouldn’t take very long to run through someone’s entire savings, given a significant hospital stay or illness.

    Is Social Security sustainable? To listen to politicians, Social Security obligations will always be met. Then again, looking at the mathematics, at least for those just now approaching retirement age or younger cohorts, the reality may be different. By 2035, the number of Americans 65 and older will climb from about 48 million today to over 79 million. That’s the Baby Boomer impact. Currently there are 2.8 active workers for each Social Security beneficiary. It will be only 2.2 workers per beneficiary by 2035.

    And just to throw a little more fuel onto your worry fire, that figure of 2.2 workers per beneficiary assumes that labor force participation rates between now and 2035 will be stable or improved from where we are today. But the chart from Larry Summers last week showed that there are now 10 million men in America between 24 and 54 who are not in the labor force. That nmber could rise to as high as 20% of the labor force by 2035. Take out another 10% of the labor force, and now there are fewer than 2 workers per Social Security beneficiary. That means each and every worker, from the lowest paid to the highest, must pick up the tab for roughly $7,000 per year of Social Security expenses through their contributions and taxes – before they start to pay for any other government services like healthcare or defense (not to mention interest on the national debt). John Lennon’s song lyric comes to mind: “You say you want a revolution?”

    A few more uncomfortable statistics from the SSA:

    Only 39% of Boomers have tried to figure out how much they need to have saved for retirement. Of those that have, a third did not include healthcare costs in their calculations. On average, Boomers estimate that healthcare will consume 23% of their income in retirement, compared to the 33% of income that those over 60 actually spend today. Fifty-nine percent of retirees expect Social Security be their major source of income, up from 42% five years ago. Divorce is becoming a major factor in retirement: 24% of divorced Boomers expect to be worse off in retirement than if they had not divorced. Roughly 16% of Americans are taking premature withdrawals from their retirement accounts, while 30% of Boomers have stopped contributing to their accounts.

    A 2016 report from the Insured Retirement Institute is likewise sobering:

    The real surprise is in Boomers’ expectations for the lifestyles they will lead in retirement. Despite being under-saved and largely lacking sources of lifetime income beyond Social Security, six in 10 Boomers believe their retirement income will cover basic expenses and a limited (38 percent) or extensive (22 percent) budget for leisure activities. Only 11 percent essentially expect a subsistence lifestyle, paying for basic needs and little else, while 19 percent worry they will not have enough money to meet even basic expenses for food, housing, and health care. For these Boomers, a long-term care event would be devastating and almost certainly require state care. (IRI: “Boomer Expectations for Retirement 2016”)

    Simply put, most Baby Boomers will be down to subsistence living by the time they are 80, living on Social Security and other government benefits, with help from any capable children.

    [​IMG]

    The following graph puts the stark reality of Boomer retirement in perspective. There is a massive gap between what people expect to have during retirement and what they will actually have and be able to spend.

    [​IMG]

    The surprising thing, at least to me, is that there isn’t more angst in America than what we currently see.

    Andrew (Andy) Marshall. Andy is 95 and was the longest-serving government employee in our history, appointed by Nixon in 1974 to run the Office of Net Assessment for the Secretary of Defense and reappointed by every president until he retired in 2015. His job was to think about the future and plan for what the world might look like 10 to 20 years out. He is probably the greatest inferential futurist on the planet. And by that, I mean that he can take random sources of data that don’t make much sense to you and me and discern patterns. When the State Department and the CIA were telling us that Russia was an economic powerhouse and was going to become as big as the US, he looked at all sorts of odd data and said, “They are going to fall apart.&rdquo ; He correctly identified Russia as a paper tiger, spending 30% or more of its budget on defense as its income fell. He and James Schlesinger figured that out way back in the ’70s. The State Department and the CIA were clueless until it all came down around Moscow’s head. Ditto developments in China. Ditto every major Defense Department realignment that happened for 40 years.

    Andy had a retirement party last year, and I was surprised to be invited. It was attended by a lot of famous former secretaries of state and even vice presidents, as well as some of the most fascinating individuals I’ve run into. Andy tends to pick up eclectic friends and colleagues. (I think that’s the polite word for them.) If you are seeing what everybody else is seeing, you’re probably not seeing the right things.

    For whatever reason, Andy has let me come into his world, has invited me to weeklong think tanks of the Naval War College, and sits and answers my questions patiently. I treasure our times together. He never willingly sought the limelight, purposely staying in the background, but the number of famous people who benefitted from his tutelage and went through his office is staggering. His biography is called The Last Warrior: Andrew Marshall and the Shaping of Modern American Defense Strategy.

    Then, with that preparation, I go the next day to George Friedman’s first annual Geopolitical Futures Conference, at the Army and Navy Club. I will be an attendee, sitting in the back of the room absorbing information and trying to figure out who I’m going to drag to dinner to glean more insights. The following morning I fly down to Atlanta, where I’ll meet Shane and spend the evening having dinner with our old friends Martin and Margie Truax before heading off the next day to drive to Augusta.

    I have always wanted to go to the Masters and was lucky to be invited to attend this year. Evidently there are rules about what you can write in public about who you shared the Masters with and what your experiences were. The rule seems to be that you can’t say anything much. So I’ll just say that I expect to have a great deal of fun and hope to see some wonderful golf.

    Then Monday Shane and I drive back to Atlanta; she heads back to Dallas; and I fly to Tampa Bay to have dinner with Patrick Cox and some friends. The following day is full of intense meetings with some of the most cutting-edge biotechnology researchers anywhere, along with a few major investors. Patrick and I are trying to encourage the birthing of technologies that will physically turn our genes younger. It is our belief that much of the antiaging research that is coming out of Silicon Valley is missing the point. They are trying to start from scratch with a few new ideas here and there, and maybe they’ll be successful. But what Patrick and I are seeing is already out of the lab, past the point of “discovery,” and simply needs to have the funding to turn these discoveries into practical applications available to us all. It’s not a cheap endeavor, but at the end of the day, what’s the Fountain of Youth worth? I have no doubt that w e will drink from that fountain in the coming years. I just hope it’s within my lifetime. Yes, I’d like to live to be several hundred years old. I want to explore not only our own world but to go into space and explore other worlds.

    I find it somewhat amusing to talk to people about living a greatly extended lifetime. I constantly get the retort, “I don’t want to live that long.” My quick rejoinder is always, “Are you actually that bored with life?” The answer is almost always no. And then I ask, “And what makes you think you will be bored 100 years from now? Think you will have figured it all out and been everywhere, done everything?” Give me a younger body who various parts work as they did in my early 20s, along with what I know now, and I can readily imagine an exciting and fulfilling future.

    Of course, we have to get through the rather massive problems facing our society and our economy. and gods only know what our government is going to do to us. So we Muddle Through until we can break out.

    It’s time to hit the send button. Have a great week!

    Your worried about how his fellow Baby Boomers can retire with dignity analyst,

    [​IMG]
    John Mauldin
    subscribers@MauldinEconomics.com

    Copyright 2017 John Mauldin. All Rights Reserved.

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  4. GOLDZILLA

    GOLDZILLA Harvurd Koleej Jeenyus Midas Member

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    To me its all pretty simple and easily predictable how we got here and why. All you need is a basic understanding of human behavior.
     
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  5. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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  6. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Angst in America, Part 5: The Crisis We Can't Muddle Through


    -- Published: Monday, 24 April 2017

    No Magic Rainbows
    Squeezing Too Hard
    Nonexistent Dollars Don’t Grow
    Zemblanity
    The Merciless Math of Loss
    An Ugly Picture
    Sonoma, Orlando, and Washington DC

    “The ship of democracy, which has weathered all storms, may sink through the mutiny of those on board.”

    – Grover Cleveland, the 22nd and 24th president of the United States

    “It is your concern when your neighbor’s wall is on fire.”

    – Horace

    The biggest mistake investors make is to believe that what happened in the recent past is likely to persist. They assume that something that was a good investment in the recent past is still a good investment. Typically, high past returns simply imply that an asset has become more expensive and is a poorer, not better, investment.

    – Ray Dalio, Founder, Bridgewater Associates

    [​IMG]

    When you spend a couple of decades writing weekly letters to hundreds of thousands of people you think of as friends, your readers naturally come to associate you with a few key ideas. I have certainly become known for at least one. My longtime regular readers think of me as the “Muddle Through” guy. That’s not an image I have tried to cultivate, but I have it anyway.

    I have to confess that it’s usually accurate. In a typical letter I will describe some sort of potentially scary problem, explain what might happen, then conclude that we’ll probably avoid the worst and muddle through. That has almost always been the right call. The worst doesn’t happen, and we all survive. “Muddle Through” can mean widely varying outcomes for individuals, but for the world at large, things generally work out OK.

    As a statistical matter, this stance makes sense. The extreme tails of any distribution curve comprise outcomes that almost certainly won’t occur. The most probable outcomes cluster around the fat middle.

    Yet there is one problem that is very definitely coming our way that I really don’t think we can Muddle Through and where even the middle-of-the-road scenarios are terrible, and that’s the public pension crisis. I really see no way it can end well. It’s going to hurt just about everyone.

    “But wait,” my Canadian and German friends will say, “that’s an American problem. Leave us out of it.”

    I wish I could. The sad fact is that the US is the big fish in the global economic pond. One way or another, our problems affect everyone. You catch cold when we sneeze. The “Disappearing Pensions” crisis I described last week will hurt you, too. The only question is which transmission mechanism will bring it to you. Further, most developed countries have their own version of the pension crisis in the form of government promises that can’t be kept. Same song, different verse.

    Today I want to delve a little deeper and explain why pension angst is completely reasonable and not at all overblown. If anything, it has been understated.

    But first, it’s getting close to the last call if you want to attend my Strategic Investment Conference, May 22–25 in Orlando, Florida. I am told we are down to 35 spots still available. When those are taken, we will create a waiting list, as we have done the past two years. There are always a few last-minute cancellations, but there are not enough to allow everyone on the waiting list to attend.

    If you haven’t yet secured your spot, you seriously need to take a look at who’s going to be speaking. Some of the best geopolitical, economic, and social commentators from around the world will be joining us to focus on how the world is going to evolve over the next 1–5–10 years. The theme of the conference is “Paradigm Shift: A Destabilizing World.”

    And this is not just a series of lectures: We have designed the program to be interactive between the speakers and the audience. There is no other conference that I am aware of that so aggressively encourages such interaction with the speakers. So stop procrastinating and arrange to join us.

    City Journal last year. The State of Utah’s pension plan lost 22.3% of its assets in 2008. It gained back 13% in 2009. A good start to recovery, right?

    No, not right. Utah determined that its investment returns would have to compound at over 10% annually for the next 20 years just to recoup that 2008 loss. Why is that? Because while the portfolio was down, workers were continuing to earn new retirement credits. You have one set of people trying to fill the hole while another group digs it deeper. So just making back what you lost is not enough. You also have to make back the additional obligations you took on while you were trying to recover.

    first shows straightforward index levels since 1977. If you click on the link above or the chart below, you can bring up an interactive version of the chart. Click on “max” and then run your cursor back and forth to see where the index was on various dates. Note that it took 13 years to recover from the peak of 2000 (not including the very temporary peak of 2007). Since 2000, the market has risen roughly 50%. A 50% return over 17 years is not exactly what people thought they were going to get back in 2000 – it’s a little less than 3% a year on a compounded basis.

    [​IMG]

    But that’s not really a fair way to look at it. While the NASDAQ and other indexes have small dividend payouts relative to the size of their indexes, the S&P 500 actually has reasonable dividends compounding over time. So this next chart shows the level of the S&P 500, including dividends, since 1988. And yes, while it did take almost 13 years for the market, including dividend returns, to fully recover from the top in 2000, since that time it has actually more than doubled with the help of dividends. That slightly-larger-than-2% dividend has compounded nicely over time.

    [​IMG]

    That pleasant result has lulled pension plan managers and other investors into believing that this period is somehow normal. And it has convinced them that their pensions must be recovering lost ground. The problem is, that’s an illusion.

    I read recently that the average pension fund in the United States expects its investment prowess to bring home returns of 7.69% in the future. A number of funds still use 8% as their target. Seriously.

    Now let’s do some math based on the rule of 72. The rule of 72 is basically (according to Investopedia) a simplified way to determine how long an investment will take to double, given a fixed annual rate of interest. By dividing 72 by the annual rate of return, investors can get a rough estimate of how many years it will take for the initial investment to duplicate itself. Investopedia even provides this handy table:

    [​IMG]

    Let me reiterate that the biggest portion of the money that will be used to pay retirees from a pension fund comes from actual returns on investments and not from the original contributions. That means that if there is a portion of the pension fund that is currently unfunded, those (nonexistent) dollars can’t grow so that they can be redeemed 30 years later by the retirees.

    Further, the amount by which a pension plan is underfunded is determined by the assumptions on returns that the fund makes. These next few paragraphs will drive the actuaries and math nerds among my readers crazy, but I am going to simplify here to make a point.

    If you project returns of 8%, then you expect your assets to double every nine years. Thus in 27 years, $1 that is sitting in the fund today will have become $8.

    But what if your returns grow at only 5%? Looking at the handy chart above, we see that it takes 14.2 years to double your assets, so that in 28 years $1 will have grown to only $4. That is only about half of the dollars that your actuaries and consultants have assumed would be there.

    If you project 5% returns for the next 30 years, then you have to almost double the current level of contributions to have the necessary assets in 30 years. So basically, any pension fund that is assuming 8% compound returns and is falling significantly short of that level now, will turn out to be massively underfunded, far more so than funds are telling their retirees or the public.

    I understand that the actuaries actually calculate the underfunding for each year, not just 30 years out. That makes the math far more complex, but the principle is the same. The lower you make your return assumptions, the more you are required to fund current pension balance sheets. And that funding comes from only two sources, taxpayers and current workers. Of course, you could go to your current retirees and tell them they are going to get less money, starting right away, but how popular will you be then? (And how illegal would that be?)

    What happens if Jeremy Grantham is right (and he has been right 97% of the time with his seven-year projections), and total market returns are less than 1% over the next seven years?

    [​IMG]

    Then not only will pension funds have to grow returns much faster in subsequent years to catch up, they will also have to go to their respective states, cities, or schools and say, “You need to give us more money, because we’re becoming more underfunded each year.”

    Let’s just make this pension data analysis even more fun. During the Great Recession, the market fell 58%. A 50% drop in the stock market during a recession is not unusual. What is the probability that we will not have a recession in the next four years? Pensions are making a huge wager on that proposition, so it is not a trivial question.

    subscribers@MauldinEconomics.com

    Copyright 2017 John Mauldin. All Rights Reserved.

    http://news.goldseek.com/GoldSeek/1493043000.php
     
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  7. the_shootist

    the_shootist The war is here on our doorstep! Midas Member Site Supporter ++

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    Food, water, guns and ammo are what you should be stockpiling now. FRN's will soon be totally worthless so turn as many into real tangible value while you still can. Retirement has been pre-empted by Civil War 2.0!
     
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  8. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Angst in America, Part 6: Middle Class Blues

    -- Published: Monday, 1 May 2017

    By John Mauldin

    Poverty Going Extinct
    The Great Middle
    Measuring Relative Income
    Crossing Classes
    Lucky Days
    Orlando and SIC

    “We of the sinking middle class may sink without further struggles into the working class where we belong, and probably when we get there it will not be so dreadful as we feared; for, after all, we have nothing to lose.”

    – George Orwell

    “A strong, educated middle class is what made America the greatest country in the world.”

    – Lincoln Chafee

    [​IMG]

    As we continue our tour of the widespread angst afflicting investors large and small today, I want to ask a more fundamental question: Is the angst all in our heads?

    The quick answer: No, it’s not. The economic challenges we face are real. Fear, or angst, is often a perfectly reasonable response. I’ve said that, with one exception, we can muddle through the coming crises. But “we” doesn’t mean every single one of us. The nation will survive the next recession, but some of its citizens may not, at least not with the same financial security that they currently enjoy and expect. The coming pension crisis will put quite a dent in expectations. Economic strain can lead directly to sickness, disability, and sometimes suicide or fatal illness. It happens. I don’t want to minimize that risk.

    It’s precisely the risk that we will find ourselves among those who can’t muddle through that creates so much angst. Worse, we know the risks aren’t randomly distributed. We have classes of Protected and Unprotected citizens, to use Peggy Noonan’s terms. But even the Protected are afraid they may slide down the scale into economic oblivion.

    Actually, they probably wouldn’t slide much farther than the middle class – but they may find the middle class hollowed out when they get there. The middle class is a fairly new development in economics. Up until the last century or two, most societies had a tiny wealthy elite and great masses of common laborers. We now regard having this group in the middle, not wealthy but with their own assets and spending power, as a great achievement. We don’t want to lose it, but some people fear we will.

    If you delve into the economic and social-psychological literature, and if you can put up with the academic language that does its best to obscure what’s actually being said, you will find that there is a general consensus around the idea that having a lot of money does not make us happy, once our basic needs are fulfilled. There is, however, some research – and it’s controversial – which indicates that relative income is important. A majority of respondents would rather have more relative income than more absolute income, especially if they are relatively lower-income than everybody else. On the surface of it, that proposition doesn’t make sense to many people; but we’re dealing with human emotions and feelings, which often don’t make sense. We just seem to be wired to want to keep up with – or do better than – the Joneses, and now many people suspect they are doing worse. (Remember, these studies measure only the average propensity, not what you and I might as individuals think or believe or feel.)

    So, given the uncertainty of the times (and the data I will present here), there is reason for concern that the middle class is really under pressure. It’s not just in their heads; it’s an everyday, real-world situation.

    With that in mind, we’ll look at some new income data and see if it can help us control our angst.

    All of this angst – no matter your current circumstances – makes it more difficult to make decisions now than it is in more confident times. Those of us in the publishing business, as well as in the money management business, know that it is in times of high anxiety that is the most difficult to get our clients and readers to actually respond. The best time to elicit a response is in a boom period, and the next best time is, ironically, just after a bust, when people are ready to figure out what to do. I say ironically, because it is precisely when we have an economic and political situation like the one we have today, when there is actually time to make proactive decisions, that it appears to be the most psychologically difficult to do so. We procrastinate; we become like Wilkins Micawber from Charles Dickens’ novel David Copperfield, who was famously noted for saying repeatedly, “Something will turn up.”

    Let me suggest that now is the time you should be thinking hardest about taking action to have your house in order when we hit the next rough patch. Next week I’m going to start writing about what I am calling “The Great Reset.” I think we are approaching that moment when the two greatest bubbles in human history – sovereign debt and government promises (which are conflated in many people’s minds) – will burst, and politicians and central banks will be forced to take actions that are unthinkable today.

    One way you can help yourself is by taking one of the few remaining spots at my Strategic Investment Conference, May 22–25 in Orlando. I have assembled an all-star cast of some of the finest analysts, economists, and geopolitical thinkers for a 2½ day deep dive into how the world will change over the coming 1–5–10 years. My full intention is for you to be able to walk away with the tools to create or enhance your own game plan. But if you can’t make it to the conference, we will soon be offering a full set of the speeches. They won’t give you the valuable interactions you would have at the conference with the speakers and other attendees; but that said, the recordings are the next best thing.

    And now, having urged you to make sure you have the strategies to “batten down the hatches,” let’s see why the middle class is under so much pressure.

    here.

    [​IMG]

    What we see here is that many countries began in the top left quadrant or close to it, with a high percentage of the population in extreme poverty and with low GDP per capita. Over time, countries slide to the lower right, meaning higher per capita GDP and a lower percentage of the population in extreme poverty.

    So, it appears that a general increase in national income correlates with fewer people living in dire poverty. Correlation isn’t causation, of course, nor does this mean that all is well in these countries now. But there is at least an association between economic growth and reduced poverty. The rising tide seems to lift most boats.

    That’s great news – something we should all celebrate. We in the developed world can’t truly comprehend what extreme poverty is like. $1.90 a day? Americans spend more than that on coffee and junk food. I don’t know how people buy food, shelter, and everything else with such a small amount.

    I suppose extreme poverty seems normal if you have known nothing else. But increasingly, we all do know (or think we know) how the other half lives. That’s part of our problem, as we’ll see below.

    My point here is simple: If you are reading this letter, you are already far ahead of most human beings in terms of wealth, health, education, leisure time, and more. Gratefully recognizing that fact helps with the angst. It’s not the complete answer by any means, but it helps.

    analysis of those numbers, and I am going to borrow three graphs from him. (He does fabulous charts!)

    He breaks the country into quintiles, calculates the average household income for each quintile, and then also shows the top 5%. Notice that the average income for the top 5% is $350,000. We will come back to that figure in a moment.

    [​IMG]

    It looks like everybody’s income is rising, especially those in the top 20% and 5%. But if we inflation-adjust those numbers, the illusion of growth goes away. What we see is that there has been almost no movement for the bottom 60%, while the middle quintile has grown somewhat, and – this won’t surprise anyone – the top 20% and 5% have done very well.

    [​IMG]

    The next chart shows what that growth looks like in percentage terms. We find that the bottom quintile saw their income grow by only 25% over the last 49 years, less than ½% per year. Interestingly, the fourth quintile grew even less than the bottom one, at around 19%, mainly because of government programs that supported those in the lowest 20%.

    [​IMG]

    But what about the 1%, I hear you asking? Investopedia conveniently gives us that answer:

    To be certified as a one-percenter, you needed to bring home an adjusted gross income of $465,626 more for the 2014 tax year, according to data from the IRS. The Washington Center for Equitable Growth put the average household income for this group at $1,260,508 for 2014.

    But as the saying goes, your mileage may vary. It turns out there is quite a lot of variation among counties around the US as to what it takes to qualify for the top 1%. To make the grade in New York, you will need about $8 million in annual income. But that amount wouldn’t help you very much in Teton County, Wyoming (we’re talking Jackson Hole here), where you will need a tidy $28 million per year to make it into the top 1%. On the other hand, there are many counties around the country where the top 1% take in less than $200,000; and in Quitman County, Georgia, you only need $127,000 a year to be elite. I found it odd that in LaSalle County, Texas, you had to make $6 million to land in the top 1%. Now, that county has only about 6000 residents, and the median income is quite low. It turns out there are many rural counties in America with a similar pattern, either because some of their residents “fly in” or because there is oil fracking involved. If you are interested in that phenomenon, you can check out this story in the Washington Post.

    [​IMG]

    report on the Pew study starts with one of their usual personal vignettes:

    Mike McCabe’s neighbors in rural Gillespie, Ill., consider him lucky. After being out of work for a year, he landed a job in January making cardboard boxes at a nearby Georgia-Pacific plant for $19.60 an hour.

    He would agree with them, were it not for the fact that his previous job in a steel mill near St. Louis paid $28 an hour. “I’ve had to rethink my whole life to make ends meet on what I’m now making,” Mr. McCabe said. “The middle class is struggling for sure, and almost anybody in my position will tell you that.”

    That short passage actually says a lot about angst in America. Let’s unpack it.

    Your neighbors will consider you lucky if you stay unemployed for a year and then find work for 30% less money than you made before. Maybe so, but you’ll still be hurting. The statistics suggest that people in situations like this probably had little savings and burned through whatever they had while unemployed. They may have gone deeply into debt to survive.

    “I’ve had to rethink my whole life to make ends meet on what I’m now making.”

    That’s haunting because I think we can all imagine ourselves in that spot, no matter where we are now. What if you had to (a) go a full year with no income and (b) return to work at only 70% of your former earnings? Would you have to adjust your lifestyle? I sure would. My dad taught me that you do what you have to do, but fear of having to do it is the source of much of our angst.

    At the same time, if his neighbors consider this guy to be “lucky,” there must be many others in far worse straits. Remember the Maine guide I talked about last summer, who lost his job due to a plant closure and is now having to work through his retirement savings, 10 years before he turns 65? That kind of puts my angst and maybe the angst of most of my readers in real perspective.

    Bloomberg column recently.

    A surprising thing I learned from interviewing some of the most successful people in finance is how frequently they credit good luck. Indeed, in most of the almost 150 Masters in Business interviews I have done, our guests mention – unprompted by me – the crucial role of serendipity. This isn’t false modesty or humility, but rather, an honest acknowledgment that chance can make a significant difference in people’s lives.

    Note that the role of chance doesn’t imply successful people don’t need to be educated, smart and diligent. Rather, it recognizes that lots of insightful, intelligent, hard-working people may not achieve the same level of success as other folks with the exact same qualities – and that those who are more successful may have had lucky breaks that others didn’t get.

    I think part of this is ego. It feels good to blame bad news on things we can’t control while taking full credit for whatever successes we have. But there’s more to it. Luck does indeed cut both ways.

    In the US we have a cultural imprint that I think traces back to our Puritan origins. It tells us that everyone gets what they deserve. If you’re wealthy, you must be smart and hardworking. Conversely, the poor are poor because they’re lazy and make bad choices.

    Both of those things are true in many cases, but not always. I have known many brilliant, hardworking people who have struggled financially. I’ve also known some very wealthy people who were, shall we say, less than genius-level intellects and whose work habits were suspect. The fact that there are exceptions proves that the rule isn’t absolute.

    Nonetheless, our Puritanical attitude is widespread and is even built into our laws. If your net worth is above a certain threshold, you’re an “accredited investor” and presumed to be sophisticated enough not to need certain consumer protections and disclosures. And if your net worth falls below a certain threshold, you are “protected” from investments that might offer higher returns to those who are better off than you are, presumably because your current economic circumstances suggest you wouldn’t understand the investments, regardless of your education and experience. Both of those assumptions by the government are nonsense.

    Whatever our income or class, we all face challenges over which we have some influence, yet we may find ourselves subject to a fate that we can’t control. The challenge that we have today is to recognize that the political, economic, and investment forces that we have become used to dealing with over the last 70 years, through all their ups and downs, are getting ready to shift more radically than we have yet seen or can even imagine. We will have to think more deeply and creatively than ever about how to prepare for the changes – the transformation – coming to our lives.

    Strategic Investment Conference at the beginning of the letter, but let me offer you some new reasons why you should attend. My friend Marc Faber has now agreed to speak and serve on a few panels. The last day will be a panel composed of George Friedman, Mark Yusko, Neil Howe, and Matt Ridley. George needs no introduction to my readers. Mark Yusko is a renowned investor who is the founder and chief investment officer of Morgan Creek Capital Management. Neil Howe wrote The Fourth Turning, which was the driver for Steve Bannon’s documentary, Generation Zero. Neil will be telling us what the next 10 years are likely to hold as we enter the latter half of this Fourth Turning). Matt Ridley is the brilliant Libertarian thinker/philosopher and prolific author who wrote The Rational Optimist and The Evolution of Everything, which I think is one o f the best books of the last five years.

    I’m going to moderate the panel and engage them in a discussion about how the next 10 years will unfold. I can’t imagine anything more exciting. Well, except the rest of the conference, where Ian Bremmer and Pippa and Harald Malmgren will not only make their own presentations but then sit down with George Friedman in a no-holds-barred panel on current geopolitics. Lacy Hunt, David Rosenberg, Raoul Pal, Grant Williams, Martin Barnes, some of the most noted cutting-edge biotech scientists, and an energy panel with two billionaires who actually know how to pull oil out of the ground and tap energy from the sun. They are not just investors; they have built their own “mini-empires” from scratch and have an extraordinary view on the future of energy and natural resources. And the list goes on and on and on.

    You really do want to figure out how to get Orlando May 22–25, if you haven’t already made arrangements. This is where you can get the information you need to make the course adjustments that will be required for The Great Reset. Make sure your spot is reserved.

    Now, I mentioned that next week I’m going to write about The Great Reset and talk specifically about how I think we need to adjust our core portfolios. But in the meantime, as part of the launch of my new portfolio management company, I will be hosting, on May 17 at my home, a chili and prime dinner for independent brokers and advisers, where we will share with you the specifics of how we are going about changing the way you manage the core of your portfolio. As I keep saying, the key is to diversify trading strategies, not just asset classes. Technology has allowed us to do some marvelous new things, and portfolio diversification that smoothes out the ride is one of them. One of my goals is to be able to help brokers and advisers get their clients through the storms that we all know are coming as the world struggles to figure out how to deal with the massive amounts of debt and government obligations that are building up. Maybe not this year, but at some point there has to be a Great Reset, and you need to be able to get your clients through it. If you’re interested in attending to learn more about what we’re doing, drop a note to me at business@mauldinsolutions.com. Give me your name and your firm, and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

    I actually played nine holes while in Sonoma, and I only lost two balls! And I reminded myself that I need to get out more and relax. It was just good for the soul. Shane and I went to a charity event last night, and after the requisite live auction and money raising, we settled back to listen to some badass Texas blues the way the good Lord intended them to be played. Matt Tedder and Paul Harrington teased more sound from a guitar and harmonica than I have ever heard before. There is a reason why many think Paul Harrington is the best harmonica player in Texas. You probably don’t recognize the name, but you have heard him play on a lot of famous musicians’ recordings. If you want to have a fun evening, start with this link and then just start clicking on more links and Google the names that come up.

    And with that I will hit the send button. You have a great week, and if Texas blues isn’t your thing, then spend some time with your own favorite music. It’s good for the soul.

    Your wishing I could play the harmonica analyst,

    [​IMG]
    John Mauldin
    subscribers@MauldinEconomics.com

    Copyright 2017 John Mauldin. All Rights Reserved.

    http://news.goldseek.com/GoldSeek/1493647980.php
     
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  9. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Angst in America, Part 7: The Angst of the Millennial Generation
    By: John Mauldin
    I fully intended to end my series on “Angst in America” last week, moving on to portfolio construction and what I call the Great Reset. But as I did my regular reading and research this week and reflected on it, I realized there was one piece missing from this series. That is a discussion of the angst that the Millennial generation and generations that follow are facing. And this is not just a US problem; it’s global.
     
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  10. Alton

    Alton Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    This has all been chronicled in much more detail over the years here at GIM/GIM II. All the whys and wherefores have been touched on. The culprits are are well known and known collectively in 3 categories:
    banksters
    government
    global corporations
    Sort of a triumvirate of doom which is at the center of every massive collapse of societies and empires across the whole of recorded human history. Thanks to today's efforts toward globalism, this time the entire globe will suffer to some degree.

    Were we merely staring down the barrel of yet another political-economic collapse we could rest assured that humanity would once again recover, prevail and prosper as it has done so often before. Yet there are other things heading our way that will make recovery far more challenging. Earth changes as a result of cosmic changes as we enter regions of the galaxy the earth hasn't been in for about 26,000 years. The sun isn't getting it usual energy from the cosmos and therefore is not passing the usual influx of power on to the rest of the solar system. As the sun weakens so does the earth. NASA and other agencies and researchers have and continue to document this weakening of energy flows. For humans this translates to physical and mental changes in and on the earth as well as in and all other life forms on and in the earth. Humans can't really prepare for this, partly because it's already in progress. Searcher makes daily posts on this in his Suspicious0bservers thread. Another source is youtube videos by Adapt2020 and monthly earth weather review SOTT which aggregates the weather events from around the globe for the previous month. Widespread animal deaths from birds to land and sea mammals. A clear uptick in animal attacks on humans from around the globe which is clearly beyond the challenges of sharing the same habitat with wild creatures. It's not just humans going nuts.

    I've tried brushing off a lot of these occurrences to all the standard knowledge, standard histories, proliferation of the interwebz and so on and it's not working. Snow in Yemen? The really high rise in elephant attacks on humans. The really high number of whales and dolphins beaching themselves. A BLUE aurora borealis indicating a HIGH level of electrical charge, the type the earth's magnetosphere used to protect us from.

    Don't know about you all but I've been on the internet for over 20 years now. I was an early adopter of internet "alternative" news. This is a definite trend. Records of such things have been kept for a long time and these old records are also found and/or referenced on the interwebz now. This a clear up trend in such events. How long will it go? I haven't a clue. How far as a level of disaster will this go? I just do not know. What I do know is that the up tick in these types of events started as far back as the 1980's (some started earlier) and they are expanding as far as type of event and the frequency/quantity of these events continues to rise. Crops are being destroyed by the weather ad I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see more and weird types of crop damage/destruction as we move into summer and autumn. first by weather damage and heat damage as the earth's magnetosphere continues to weaken.

    I already picked up another freezer and we will be doing some extra stocking this month. I also sprung for a new AG oz too! I'll try to keep it out of the boat.
     
  11. gringott

    gringott Killed then Resurrected Midas Member Site Supporter

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    Alton, you mentioned SOTT. A couple of years ago they had a chart with annual meteor strikes on Earth, the number was skyrocketing the last few years. Wish I could find it, I'll see if I can. I correlate the strikes with the uptick in comets and meteors during bad times, like the black plague.

    Not the same article, but a great update on the situation.
    https://www.sott.net/article/309988...-Meteor-fireballs-are-increasing-dramatically

    Quote
    Few charts from the article, not all.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2017
  12. Alton

    Alton Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    Here's their April 2017 weather/earth changes video (they make these every month) cataloguing weather/seismic/meteor/and other earth related events captured on video from around the globe:

     
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  13. nickndfl

    nickndfl Midas Member Midas Member Site Supporter ++

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    Every man for himself, women and children first!
     
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  14. Bottom Feeder

    Bottom Feeder Hypophthalmichthys molitrix Gold Chaser Site Supporter

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    Wait, wait, how did this thread get from angst to ‘Giant Meteor ”??
    Oh, by the way, searcher, charts like this​

    170430-02.jpg

    Make people like me dizzy.
    No disrespect intended.
    :D

    BF
     
  15. Alton

    Alton Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    Just the progession of this sort of topic. The financial charts represent a history up to this year. The trend IS your friend for making profits or for saving/protecting one's wealth. Charts to a certain degree provide actionable information... a good thing overall.

    The financial charts indicate serious trouble coming and soon. Corporations, businesses, governments and the general population will be deeply affected in irreparable ways.

    This reminds me quite a bit of the charts covering changes across the earth. These too have great potential to deeply affect corporations, businesses, governments and people in general all around the globe in massively irreparable ways.

    These 2 widely distinct areas of research and study are like 2 large separate rivers flowing toward the same location, a point of confluence. The progress and timing of these 2 distinct areas of interest is remarkable. It's almost as if the 2 are racing one another to be the first to deeply affect people the most. Can there be a winner? Does whatever gets here first really even matter? With these 2 bearing down on humanity, it really doesn't much matter which hits us first, we're boned. We're about to get lumped up good!

    Make of it what you will whether biblical prophecy or just another upcoming bump in the road on the course of humanity, this stuff is coming and will be here soon and we really can't keep the financial considerations separate from the earth changes considerations because they do affect each other.
     
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  16. Area51

    Area51 Silver Miner Seeker

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    Guns and ammunition, yes. But with food and water forget about "stockpiling" and put yourself in a position to be self sufficient.

    That means a deep enough well that won't run dry, and a hand pump on top of it. It also means being able to grow and preserve your own fruits and vegetables. Ideally you'd also be able to manage a couple dozen chickens too.
     
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  17. Zed

    Zed Size doesn't count! Midas Member

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    The only ones with a taste for fighting are about to get their first zimmer frames, either that or they currently fight each other in aimless gang wars over turf and drugs.

    I can't see a classic civil war developing given demographics etc...

    Mebe I am wrong, no skin in this game after all.

    :popcorn:
     
  18. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Not gonna happen.
     
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  19. Bottom Feeder

    Bottom Feeder Hypophthalmichthys molitrix Gold Chaser Site Supporter

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    Zed, 'scuse my ignoramis but what are 'zimmer frames'?

    BF
     
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  20. Zed

    Zed Size doesn't count! Midas Member

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    Here... Zimmer
     
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  21. Alton

    Alton Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    Thanks. We call those "walkers" here in the states.
     
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  22. Zed

    Zed Size doesn't count! Midas Member

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    Zimmer is a US outfit...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zimmer_Biomet

    We use the name a bit like "Hoover" is used for vacuum cleaner!

    ... but yes, often called walkers here to.
     
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  23. Bottom Feeder

    Bottom Feeder Hypophthalmichthys molitrix Gold Chaser Site Supporter

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    Tnx, Zed. Guess I coulda goggled it myself... :oops:

    BF
     
  24. Thecrensh

    Thecrensh Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    To reference the OP, yes...I've noticed that the more "news" is flashed across the screen, the more angst I personally feel. Not just because of the news, but because of the comments on social media that reduce my general opinion of humanity even lower than it used to be. The online world is chock full of douchebaggery!!!!!
     
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  25. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    A lot of that may be due to internet anonymity. Kinda like beer balls.
     
  26. hammerhead

    hammerhead Not just a screen name Gold Chaser

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    Like searcher says, anonymity. or shills. Everyone has an opinion but their opinion really doesn't mean jack.
    Look around you, braugh. Hope all in your world is manageable. Pleasant even. Stick to yourself you will be much less abused. Read the news, you could be amused.
     
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  27. Thecrensh

    Thecrensh Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    so do I unplug and live a happier life, or stay plugged in and "DMODD"? You guys confuse me sometimes...hah
     
  28. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Only way to go.
     
  29. Bottom Feeder

    Bottom Feeder Hypophthalmichthys molitrix Gold Chaser Site Supporter

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    Anonymous beer balls?
    sounds like a party I might useta like.
    Not much angst there. :D

    BF
     

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